iMac+MacBook > MBP?

iStudent

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Simple math equation brings about my buyer's question. I'm semi-frustrated by the lack of C2D in the MBP, but it get me thinking that I, perhaps, shouldn't be too frustrated that it doesn't have it yet since the iMac already does. I'd say I would overall use my computer 70% desktop vs. 30% portable, so I suppose my laptop does not have to be bursting from the seams with power. I mainly want to make the plunge into Apple and OSX because of its highly touted video editing and photo management abilities, those being my two main reasons along with general college-related work. Has anyone else out there went for a souped-up iMac and bought a light portable [possibly refurbished] MacBook to get their respectable jobs done? There are pros and cons I need for both desktop and portable, and instead of getting the best of both worlds in one big 'ol MBP, why not go this way? Input is certainly appreciated. :D
 

ChickenSwartz

macrumors 6502a
Jul 27, 2006
903
0
iStudent said:
Simple math equation brings about my buyer's question. I'm semi-frustrated by the lack of C2D in the MBP, but it get me thinking that I, perhaps, shouldn't be too frustrated that it doesn't have it yet since the iMac already does. I'd say I would overall use my computer 70% desktop vs. 30% portable, so I suppose my laptop does not have to be bursting from the seams with power. I mainly want to make the plunge into Apple and OSX because of its highly touted video editing and photo management abilities, those being my two main reasons along with general college-related work. Has anyone else out there went for a souped-up iMac and bought a light portable [possibly refurbished] MacBook to get their respectable jobs done? There are pros and cons I need for both desktop and portable, and instead of getting the best of both worlds in one big 'ol MBP, why not go this way? Input is certainly appreciated. :D
There is another tread out there where a person was making the same proposition.

Conclusion: Do it if you don't need the power on the road. If a MacBook will work for what you need away from your desk, then this is a good idea.

A lot of people are stuck waiting becasue they need the power to go.
 

skipsandwichdx

macrumors regular
May 23, 2006
106
0
I don't think the performance difference is that great between a C2D (iMac) and CD (Macbook). If I were in that situation, I'd just get the iMac and a refurb 12" iBook for portability.

Unless you need the extra power in your portable, in which case a Macbook/Pro itself would be probably be plenty.
 

iStudent

macrumors newbie
Original poster
skipsandwichdx said:
I don't think the performance difference is that great between a C2D (iMac) and CD (Macbook). If I were in that situation, I'd just get the iMac and a refurb 12" iBook for portability.

Unless you need the extra power in your portable, in which case a Macbook/Pro would still be plenty.
I suppose I wouldn't need the big time power in the portable if I were to go with the separate machine concept, but then I'd have a few questions about the iBook. Will they support OSX 10.4.8? Will they possibly support Leopard? How much of a drop in power would we be talking here (think: can I smoothly run DVDs, run Keynotes, Photoshop, etc.)?
 

orangezorki

macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2006
618
17
skipsandwichdx said:
I don't think the performance difference is that great between a C2D (iMac) and CD (Macbook).
I'd have to disagree - not only is there a useful increase in CPU power, but dedicated graphics (if you stay clear of the bottom 17") and a desktop HD make for a much faster computer overall.

David
 

skipsandwichdx

macrumors regular
May 23, 2006
106
0
orangezorki said:
I'd have to disagree - not only is there a useful increase in CPU power, but dedicated graphics (if you stay clear of the bottom 17") and a desktop HD make for a much faster computer overall.

David
Dedicated graphics will have little impact on video/photo editing.
 

iStudent

macrumors newbie
Original poster
For additional banter and maybe more of an answer I'm looking to get, here's the configuration I would go with if I went with the iMac...

# 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
# 2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
# 250GB Serial ATA Drive
# NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT 256MB SDRAM
# SuperDrive 8X (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
# iWork '06 preinstalled
# Apple Keyboard & Mighty Mouse + Mac OS X (US English)
# AppleCare Protection Plan for iMac - Auto-enroll
# 24-inch widescreen LCD
# AirPort Extreme
# Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR

Would that config above be enough to do the following...

# Video editing (maybe not Final Cut... but at least iDVD/iMovie)
# Burning DVDs (including doing some Handbrake stuff)
# Photo editing (Photoshop, iPhoto, iWeb [to an extent])
# Gaming (Civ4, Worms [yeah, still play that], HL2, CoD)
# Programming (some even in Windows, thanks to MS Visual Studio course)
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,819
41
Andover, MA
You might want to consider not upgrading to 2.33GHz. Unless you really, really need the minor power boost (it's not going to increase the speed by a factor of 2.33/2.16, but instead by a portion of that), you're adding over 10% to the cost of your system with little to recommend it.

FWIW, I do all that you mentioned except video editing (which I just don't do) on a base 17" 1.83 GHz Core Duo iMac (w/2GB RAM). I got it as a developer upgrade, and it's surprisingly fast, so I'm certain your 24" - no matter how you configure it - will be more than adequate.
 

clintob

macrumors 6502
Feb 16, 2006
261
0
New York, NY
skipsandwichdx said:
Dedicated graphics will have little impact on video/photo editing.
This is patently false. Any time you have non-decidated graphics, it means your machine is sharing system RAM for both video and general app use. If you use any kind of RAM intensive program (Photoshop, After Effects, Final Cut, etc), there is a VERY noticeable speed difference between having a dedicated graphics card and not having one.

If you are a video editor and you work in Photoshop (or God forbid do both at the same time!) you will become very frustrated by the lack of separate video and system RAM. Don't buy into the C2D/Merom hype... RAM is, and always has been, much more important to your overall system speed than a small bump in processor capability when it comes to video and graphics.
 

jc27

macrumors newbie
Aug 10, 2005
19
0
Boston
Just as to iStudent's config, I'd recommend apple remote desktop or the like for synching and for general access of both comps in exchange for the proc upgrade. Also, the wireless keyboard and mouse combo is wonderful, if you're not getting the ard.
 

iStudent

macrumors newbie
Original poster
jc27 said:
Just as to iStudent's config, I'd recommend apple remote desktop or the like for synching and for general access of both comps in exchange for the proc upgrade. Also, the wireless keyboard and mouse combo is wonderful, if you're not getting the ard.
This could certainly bring up another good point. For anyone who has this setup (power desktop+travel laptop), how do you go about syncing them together? What are some advantages on the Mac for this setup?

jsw said:
FWIW, I do all that you mentioned except video editing (which I just don't do) on a base 17" 1.83 GHz Core Duo iMac (w/2GB RAM). I got it as a developer upgrade, and it's surprisingly fast, so I'm certain your 24" - no matter how you configure it - will be more than adequate.
Thanks for the real-world example, jsw. That's been a good base for my contemplation so far.
 

wchong

macrumors 6502
Sep 18, 2006
364
0
Miami, Fl
iStudent said:
This could certainly bring up another good point. For anyone who has this setup (power desktop+travel laptop), how do you go about syncing them together? What are some advantages on the Mac for this setup?


Thanks for the real-world example, jsw. That's been a good base for my contemplation so far.

i believe you sync them using .mac right?
 

iStudent

macrumors newbie
Original poster
wchong said:
i believe you sync them using .mac right?
I hope there's a cheaper alternative... .Mac's pricetag is far too much for my pocketbook, especially when I have a suitable hosting alternative that's cheaper. For syncing issues, I'm thinking mainly mail, calendar, and school documents are the only things I would like mirrored on both machines. Is there a low-cost alternative that can allow this to happen? Perhaps iCal or Mail do this natively?

Or if all that isn't an option, how well does .Mac sync work for this possible setup of mine?
 

clintob

macrumors 6502
Feb 16, 2006
261
0
New York, NY
.mac does NOT sync Mail messages, nor does it sync documents. Right now, it only syncs Mail account settings, Safari bookmarks, keychain passwords, and your iCal and Address Book. That's it.

Personally, I don't have a problem with the $100/yr - it's less than $10/mth, and in theory the program will be much improved in the next few months. There's a new mail client in the works that looks great, and more importantly, OS X Leopard is supposedly going to support more .mac sync options (Dashboard widgets for one, hopefully others).

Anyway, long story short, .mac will not help you sync files or mail messages, which is was most people are looking to do with multiple machines. There's a program called ChronoSync which does a pretty good job syncing files between machines, but I've always been very wary of such programs because there's always the chance that you overwrite the wrong version of a file and then your up a creek. Get used to doing it the old fashioned way until something automated and built into the OS comes along. It's only a matter of time...
 

miles01110

macrumors Core
Jul 24, 2006
19,264
30
The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
Congratulations on your iMac, but I would like to say that buying 2 computers at the same time is a terrible idea (if you are on a budget).

This is because that in a few years you will have 2 outdated machines instead of 1, and the money is much better spent buying a better system down the line.
 

Scarlet Fever

macrumors 68040
Jul 22, 2005
3,272
0
Bookshop!
miles01110 said:
This is because that in a few years you will have 2 outdated machines instead of 1, and the money is much better spent buying a better system down the line.
at first, i couldn't see a point, but then i read that, and i agree wholeheartedly. :)
If you can cope with one machine, i can't see a reason why you wouldn't; the Macbooks are suprisingly fast machines, and they will take pretty much anything you throw at them. Unless you really need a dedicated GPU, get a MacBook.
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,819
41
Andover, MA
miles01110 said:
This is because that in a few years you will have 2 outdated machines instead of 1, and the money is much better spent buying a better system down the line.
Unless the OP decided to go with a refurb, which is a great deal. By the way, yes, the iBook will support Leopard. They stopped selling them just a year before Leopard will be released, and Apple typically supports systems for at least 5 years.
 

FFTT

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2004
2,952
0
A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
Your plan is sound and reasonable.

However, I would agree that you're better off maxing out the RAM in Both machines
for the cost of the 2.33 GHz iMac Upgrade.

The refurb MacBook might come with extras too, like a larger HD or extra RAM.
 

generik

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2005
4,116
1
Minitrue
ChickenSwartz said:
Don't forget, you are going to have to buy two copies of all the software you want to use.
The few authors from whom I got their software should thank their lucky stars that I choose to do that. Usually I just take it :rolleyes:

I'd say it is a moot point since strictly speaking one person can only use one of two computers at any given time, you can choose to interpret their EULA and obey it to every word and letter. Personally I don't give a damned about licensing and more about "no hassles to me".
 

puckhead193

macrumors G3
May 25, 2004
9,227
444
NY
i use final cut with my 20" iMac and it works great, Sure i would love a mac pro but its also double the price! The iMac is the powerhouse for me and i have my 15" G4 powerbook for class etc
 

iStudent

macrumors newbie
Original poster
I decided not to go with any laptop purchase right now, mainly because I'm waiting for another paycheck to make the full purchase. I was either planning on going for the iBook or a refurb Macbook. Perhaps after a few weeks of my new life in OS X, I will be ready to take it on the road, but for now, it is on hold.
 

CaptainCaveMann

macrumors 68000
Oct 5, 2004
1,518
0
iStudent said:
I decided not to go with any laptop purchase right now, mainly because I'm waiting for another paycheck to make the full purchase. I was either planning on going for the iBook or a refurb Macbook. Perhaps after a few weeks of my new life in OS X, I will be ready to take it on the road, but for now, it is on hold.
If i had a good desktop but i needed a portable to, i would definately go with the ibook refurb. I love my ibook and you cant beat its size. ;)